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Greek Theater.

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Presentation on theme: "Greek Theater."— Presentation transcript:

1 Greek Theater

2 Roots in Worship of Dionysus
God of wine and revelry

3 Origins Celebration of Dionysus- God of Wine
Performed in circular dancing place (orchestra) A chorus of men dressed in goat skins Trageoia= goat song A story about Dionysus by leader of the chorus

4 PRODUCTION Orchestra Chorus (from 12-15 people)
Actors- always men, masked and in costumes Early plays of Aeschylus- only two actors; by about 450 B.C., a third had been added The poet composed the music and the dance as well as the text, directed the production, and trained the chorus; some dramatists also played the leading roles.

5 Masks of Greek Theater

6 Masks of Greek Theater

7 Masks of Greek Theater

8 The Greek Chorus The chorus was dominant because there was usually one actor and that actor had to leave the stage several times during a show to change characters. The chorus was to be a representation of society, they often served as the “ideal spectator” by providing advice, opinions, questions to the audience and actors. The main actor(s) stood apart in the performance space because they typically played heroic figure that would realistically be separated from normal mortal beings. Their costumes and masks added spectacle and their movement and dance heightened the dramatic effect. Great actors were characterized by their voice quality and the ability to adopt their manner of speaking to the character.

9 Functions of Chorus The beauty of poetry and dancing Relieves tension
Interprets events for audience Often converses with the actors; gives advice Gives background of events

10 Chorus

11 Tragedy A drama of a character, usually one in high position, where a conflict usually develops between the protagonist/hero and a “superior force (such as destiny, circumstance, or society)” and the story ends in some sort of disaster or great fall of the protagonist. Tragedy n A drama of a character, usually one in a high position, where a conflict usually develops between the protagonist/hero and a “superior force (such as destiny, circumstance, or society)” and the story ends in some sort of disaster or great fall of the protagonist.

12 Hubris and Hamartia On Hamartia: “A tragic flaw or error that in
ancient Greek tragedies leads to the hero’s reversal of fortune.” On Hubris: Excessive pride or arrogance. Often leads to the downfall of the major character in Greek tragedy.

13 Thespis of Athens Ca. 535 B.C.E. Father of Drama
Created the first actor Hypokrites 13

14 Moving on… New myths are used, not just Dionysus
Aeschylus: introduced second actor Dialogue Sophocles: introduced third actor Dramatic action


16 AESCHYLUS (ca.525-456 B.C.) The "Father of Tragedy"
Addition of a second actor Made much use of imagery His tragedy deals Fates and the justice of the gods His plays reflect the contemporary belief that the gods, jealous and resentful of human greatness, typically inflict great persons with a character flaw that brings their ruin

17 Sophocles

18 SOPHOCLES (ca B.C.) Won the competition at the Great Dionysia more often than any other of the great dramatists He increased the potential for dramatic conflict by adding a third actor wrote dramas which were complete in themselves, rather than always part of a trilogy Sophoclean drama deals primarily with strong characters

19 EURIPIDES (c B.C.) Wrote prolifically- some 90 plays, of which 19 survived He won the prize for the best play only four times (but then the Academy Awards usually get it wrong too). He wrote of less heroic, more realistic characters

20 EURIPIDES Cont. One device he uses (and it is often seen as a weakness in his plays) is the deus ex machina, a god, not involved earlier in the action, who descends in a stage machine to straighten out the mess humans have got themselves into.

21 Structure of Tragedy Prologue-First Act
Parados- Entrance of the Chorus Episodes- Acts Stasima-Choral Odes Exedus- Action after last stasimon

22 Typical Greek Theatre Theatron- where the audience sits Open air
Hillside Seating capacity of the Theatron of Dionysus of Athens? About 17,000

23 Dionysus Theater in Athens

24 Dionysus Theater in Athens

25 Orchestra-dancing place of the chorus
Skene- dressing room for actors Proscenium- the façade of the skene where scenery was- No curtains Dues et Machina- technical device- crane atop the skene with a dummy hung representing gods.

26 The Greek Outdoor Amphitheatre

27 Deus ex Machina- “God From the Machine”
The Machina- a crane that was used to represent characters who were flying or lifted off of the earth. Tunnel from behind the Skene to the center of the stage. Scenic wagons revealed through doors on the Skene. Pinakes painted panels that could be attached to the skene.

28 Differences: Drama, Then and Now
Greek drama(GD) is a religious GD get its subjects from mythology GD outlines the plot in advance, little suspence GD main intrest is relgioun and ethical instruction All Short plays 17,000 longest to 900 shortest

29 Rated G No violent action Scenes of horror happen off stage
Reported to the audience

30 Unity Unity of action- no subplots Unity of place-no change of scenery
Unity of time- max of one day No intermissions Twice a year in the day


32 Staging an ancient Greek play
Plays were funded by the polis Plays presented in competition with other plays Tragedies almost exclusively dealt with stories from the mythic past Comedies almost exclusively dealt with contemporary figures and problems. The great tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were performed annually at the spring festival of Dionysus, god of wine, and inspiration.

33 Theater at Epidaurus

34 Theater at Epidaurus

35 Dionysus Theater in Athens

36 Chorus

37 Aristotle’s Poetics

38 1. Central Character is of the Elite Class – Usually noble or Royal

39 2. Central Character suffers a Downfall

40 3. Central Character is Neither Wholly good nor wholly evil

41 4. Downfall is the result of a Fatal Flaw or error (Hamartia)

42 5. Misfortunes involve characters who are related or who are friends – closely connected

43 6. Tragic actions take place offstage

44 7. Central Character has a moment of recognition

45 8. Audience experiences pity and fear

46 Pity and Fear leads to a catharsis
According to Aristotle, this is one of the most important purposes of Drama

47 Oedipus and Sphinx

48 Oedipus and Sphinx

49 Oedipus and Sphinx

50 Audience at Theater of Delphi

7th Century BC c. 625         Arion at Corinth produces named dithyrambic choruses 6th Century BC        Cleisthenes, tyrant of Sicyon, transfers "tragic choruses" to Dionysus         Pisistratus, tyrant of Athens, founds the festival of the Greater Dionysia

     Thespis puts on tragedy at festival of the Greater Dionysia in Athens 525         Aeschylus was born        Phrynichus' first victory in tragedy c. 500         Pratinus of Phlius introduces the satyr play to Athens

5th Century BC     Aeschylus' first dramatic competition c. 496      Sophocles was born 492         Phrynicus' Capture of Miletus (Miletus was captured by the Persians in 494)  485         Euripides was born  484         Aeschylus' first dramatic victory  472         Aeschylus' Persians   467        Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes 468         Aeschylus defeated by Sophocles in dramatic competition

463?        Aeschylus' Suppliant Women   458         Aeschylus' Oresteia (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides)   456         Aeschylus dies c. 450         Aristophanes was born   447         Parthenon begun in Athens c. 445         Sophocles' Ajax   441         Sophocles' Antigone   438         Euripides' Alcestis         Peloponnesian War (Athens and allies vs. Sparta and allies)

431         Euripides' Medea c. 429         Sophocles' Oedipus the King   428         Euripides' Hippolytus   423         Aristophanes' Clouds   415         Euripides' Trojan Women   406         Euripides dies; Sophocles dies   405         Euripides' Bacchae 404         Athens loses Peloponnesian War to Sparta

401: Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus 4th Century BC   399          Trial and death of Socrates c. 380's        Plato's Republic includes critique of Greek tragedy and comedy c. 330's        Aristotle's Poetics includes defense of Greek tragedy and comedy

57 Delphi

58 “Indeed, some say that dramas are so called, because their authors represent the characters as "doing" them (drôntes). And it is on this basis that the Dorians [= the Spartans, etc.] lay claim to the invention of both tragedy and comedy. For comedy is claimed by the Megarians here in Greece, who say it began among them at the time when they became a democracy [c. 580 BC], and by the Megarians of Sicily on the grounds that the poet Epicharmas came from there and was much earlier than Chionides and Magnes; while tragedy is claimed by certain Dorians of the Peloponnese. They offer the words as evidence, noting that outlying villages, called dêmoi by the Athenians, are called kômai by them, and alleging that kômôdoi (comedians) acquired their name, not from kômazein (to revel), but from the fact that, being expelled in disgrace from the city, they wandered from village to village. The Dorians further point out that their word for "to do" is drân, whereas the Athenians use prattein. ”(Aristotle: Poetics Chapter 3)



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